In The Know: The Case of the Pontifical University of Peru | Inquirer News

In The Know: The Case of the Pontifical University of Peru

/ 02:41 AM August 21, 2012


In a statement posted on its website on July 23, the Vatican said it had stripped the Pontifical University of Peru of its Catholic identity for “seriously prejudicing the interests of the Church.”

Marcial Rubio Correa, the university rector, had been “at odds” with Cardinal Juan Luis Cirpriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, over control of the university, according to a report by Reuters posted on the Huffington Post website.


“The Holy See, by decree of the secretary of state acting on a specific pontifical mandate, has decided, in conformity with canonical legislation, to withdraw the right of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru to use the titles  ‘Pontifical’ and ‘Catholic,’” the Vatican said.

The Vatican cited “various occasions” when the university “unilaterally modified its statutes” over the past two decades as reason behind the move. Since 1990, the Vatican said it had repeatedly requested the university “to bring its statutes into line” but the university failed to do so.


The Vatican also said the university had not allowed the Archdiocese of Lima to sit on the university’s board of directors, in spite of a ruling by Peruvian civil courts.

The university was founded in 1917. It received its honorary Pontifical title from the Vatican in 1942. The university, regarded as among the most prominent higher education institutions in Latin America, has been known for espousing liberal and progressive thinking. Two of its past presidents—Fr. Ruben Vargas Ugarte and Rev. Fr. Felipe MacGregor—were Jesuits.

Gustavo Gutierrez, the Dominican priest who founded liberation theology, taught at the university. Its roster of notable alumni include Peru’s President Ollanta Humala. In 1986, the university awarded an honorary doctorate to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

Sources: Vatican Information Service (, official website of the Pontifical University of Peru (,

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TAGS: Catholic Church, Pontifical University of Peru, Religion, Vatican City
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